While the Wares Creek dredging and widening flood control project earns rave reviews, is anyone surprised that a glitch surfaced? Major delays have been the hallmark of this idea for decades, and sure enough one more drags on.
After decades of frustration and waiting, the three-phase $52 million project broke ground, so to speak, in January 2012. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers fired the Phase II contractor in October for failing to meet contract terms. Air Ideal Inc. of Winter Park fled the scene months earlier in a dispute with the federal agency.
The two contractors responsible for the other two phases successfully completed the flood control portion of the creek project. But Phase II, from 17th Avenue West to 21st Avenue West, remains in limbo as the Corps continues work on securing a new contractor.
It comes as no surprise that the Corps does not have a timetable for the completion of that phase, which had been expected to be finished in May 2014. Eight months later, we're still waiting. Sigh.
On the bright side, though, final work on the new 17th Avenue West bridge, reopened to traffic two weeks ago, is forecast to be complete this month. The three other old spans in the Historic Ware' Creek neighborhood -- at Ninth, 12th and 14th avenues -- have already been replaced with new ones with better water-flow capacity.
These projects were guided by the city of Bradenton, not the Corps. According to the city, the 17th Avenue bridge project was finished "well ahead of schedule."
Too bad the city's not in charge of creek dredging, too.